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Grand Cru | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Very Good
54 Ratings

Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by tavernjef on 01-18-2004

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of briguy93
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of tbeq00
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of TastyTaste
4.88/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was truely a treat. $3.75 for a 10? oz. serving (in a goblet). Nice gold color, complex and somewhat foreboding aroma (nice amount of alcohol. The flavor was awesome. Spicy, sweet, and it left my lips smacking every time I took a sip. This is an experience that every beer should be shooting for.

 306 characters

Photo of nlmartin
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was from a trade with Faro. Thanks for hooking me up Faro! The growler was split with my wife. The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer is a coppery nearing on bronze coloration. The beer has a small white head that quickly resolves. No lacing remains behind on the glass.

Smell: Smelling this beer is like walking into a bakery. The beer has massive yeasty bready smells. The beer has a very good combination of fruity (apples, grapes, pears, plums) jelly smells. This beer smells definately sweet. Oddly enough the smells of this beer bring back memories of my grandmothers kitchen smell.

Taste: The beer has all the above smells captured in the flavor. This is coupled with corriander pepperyness. The alcohol is present in the flavor; however, the spicyness of the alcohol plays nicely with the beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is medium bodied plus. The beer is very smooth and has a low level of carbonation. This beer is very easy to drink. I was able to easily drink slightly more than 2/3rds of this growler by myself and I wanted more.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This dark bronzed brew is capped by a good sized ivory white head. The creaminess dissipates gradually and forms a nice collar. The aroma is heavenly. Big on the yeasty bread notes and some "green" fruit tones. Toxic candied tones as well. The taste is nice. I pick up some green apple and pear, grape skin, cookie dough and yeasty, bready tones. A little mint leaf. The ethanol that is present blends into the whole context of the beer nicely. The carbonation is appropriately moderate. Body about medium or so. Does the fact that I downed a growler of this no prob make it drinkable?? I think yes! It's one I'd revisit again and again.

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Photo of cokes
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clean, freshly-minted copper sprayed with a scattered ecru spume.
Fumes of barrel-aged dark rum, augmented with additional brown sugar, lilac, cedar, toffeed pineapples, dates, and figs.
A literal menagerie in the mouth, as it roars from every corner. Sweet and fruity yelps of caramel, toffee, dates, figs, grilled pineapples, cinnamon apples, bruised pears, fried plantains and toasted coconuts. Poignant shreiks of dark rum, peach schnapps, bourbon, oak, vanilla, black pepper, orange peels, and pound cake. Then a final whimper of dried hay, as everything that came before continues to echo.
Glossy in the mouth and medium full in texture. The carbonation is tiny but steadfast.
This presents as a Belgo-barleywine.
A truly thought-provoking all-night sipper.

Thanks to Bighuge for the hospitality of sharing this growler while I was up.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I first sampled this several weeks ago at the Winterfest in St. Paul and found it to be the hit of the evening. Now it's on tap at the pub, finally, and I can check it's progress from a fresh growler, and so I shall...
Appearance: solid orange color, with a lively, fresh, bubbling froth above, very attractive. Aroma: Wow! This is the stuff! Fruity, alcoholic, with an utterly ethereal quality I associate with the likes of Abbaye des Rocs or Delirium Noel. Spicy, yes, and loaded with dark fruits, grapes, cherries,.plums, elevated by a sublime, otherworldy somethin' else! Yeast is predominant and contributes to this atmospheric effect.
So, taste already! Don't mind if I do...Mmmm! Flavor rides high in this one, spicy, solid, sure, becoming a magical blend of malt, fruitiness, spice, hops, and all things nice and good. Alcoholic content lends a certain whisky-ish tone to the taste. All in all, delcious.
This is a marvelous nightcap, an excellent guard against this ridiculous February chill, just the thing to wrap around me before I surrender to slumber.
Watch as I try to stockpile some growlers to last until spring...pity you can't cellar the stuff!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Hopstout
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grand Cru is a perennial favorite at Town Hall and GABF medal winning brew. It is also one of our favorites, especially my wife's. I've had this in every form, including the briefly used Stone growlers for those Town Hall patrons who remember that experiment. Over the years, we've loved and liked this beer, mostly loving it in earlier years and liking it now. We are unsure if our tastes have changed over the years or if the beer has changed. One possible explanation for the difference in perception is that is we tended to drink Grand Cru on the opening night that it was tapped when we first fell in love with the beer, and now we get it when we see it: too many variables and not enough background information to make a conclusion. At any rate, I'm still a fan boy and like or love this beer a lot, depending on the particular version of it that is in front of me at the moment.

Took home a growler of this 9.4% Belgian ale. Dirty white head is a tough pour and almost evaporates. Draft on Saturday fell less quickly, but dissipated just the same. Fusel alcohols apparent in the nose with a spicy hotness along with strong caramel, toffee and burnt malt. Swirl the beer and full legs appear along the edge of the glass and betray the high alcohol. Sticky sweet, full mouthfeel with caramel malt and a yeast and alcohol spiciness. This beer warms up nicely and really opens up, so take some time and enjoy. Otherwise, the flavors are muted and the full potential will be missed.

 1,486 characters

Photo of Reils
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Quickly dissipating head, lightly carbonated, amber colored, clear, appears flat.

S - Malty, honey

T - Great tasting! Very malty, extremely palatable

M - Initially smooth, slight tingle as it goes down

D - Very drinkable, delicious

Overall - If you live in the Minneapolis area, I would highly recommend trying one

 333 characters

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a copper-orange color with a thick tan head. The aroma is spicy, medicinal and a bit fruity, with a bubble gum smell as well. The flavor is spicy, fruity, malty, and medicinal. This is a full-bodied brew that is very tasty. A beer not to be taken lightly. A very good brew by Hoops.

Sampled 2/14/04

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a lovely chill hazed cherrywood with a slight plum tone within, soft puffy white head and good amounts of lace stick in thin curtains. Lovely aroma, spicy with some clove and yeast, very clean, some nice caramel candy mixed with some light dullish dark fruits of raisin and maybe some fig. Taste is nice as well, takes over from where the smell leads to, clean and pleasantly smooth character with some very nice dark caramel and toffee mixing with some dark fruits and a great touch of spice in both clove and yeast that blend and balance out. Finishes with some malty sweetness then has a calm little floral crispness and favorable spicyness lingers across the palate. Nice smooth and clean character in all aspects of smell, taste, and feel. A well balanced brew, a true keeper from Town Hall. Hopefully this will work its way into regular rotation.

Many samples from Winterfest in St.Paul 2004

 909 characters

Photo of Chaz
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium firm pour into a Duvel tulip produces one finger of tan head which subsides in a couple of minutes, leaving moderate lacing. Golden-amber and clear, with ample carbonation and a touch of chill haze. Fruity, juicy, slightly yeasty nose begins to intensify as this warms, and possesses notes of orange, persimmons, and clove. Phenolic and yeasty-fruity on the first sip, with tingling/cleansing carbonation and a sharp alcoholic bite. Warming, very . . . I almost forgot that this is one of their bigger rotating beers. Tanginess and bitterness here are very well realized and help to temper this juicy malt-monster - nice balance. The tang seems a bit metallic before I remember the spice element; it's my old friend Coriander! A real buzz-kill in lighter brews, it actually adds a nice dimension (if not outright 'depth') to a rendition that has gone a bit lighter on it in the past (I like it just fine in my Jacobite, but it actually vies for attention a bit much here.) As it warms I'm catching a hint of bubblegum, sweet red Mackintosh, and . . . brandy! Damn I wish I had a cigar . . . a brew fit for food, and heartier fare at that -- right now it's pairing just fine with several of the richer sides and a bit of roast turkey left over from yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner . . . Gobble Gobble! *Edit11/26* At $3 a serving this is a tremendous value!

 1,363 characters

Photo of joedon
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft in a 10 ounce goblet (on account of the high ABV).
Beautiful dark gold color with an off-white head that dissipated rapidly.
Aroma was mainly malty-fruity with very little hops. Very pleasant, though.
The flavor was very malty with lots of fruit; apples, grapes, plums. Nice warming alcohol that was not too forward. Very much a Belgian flavor with fruity esters and that Belgian yeast after-taste.
Body and mouthfeel were just right. Very tangy-spicy on the palate.
Extremely drinkable beer. You'd have to watch out for the alcohol; a lot of buzz after 2 or 3 of these.

 591 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brassy pumpkin orange with honey colored highlights. Grand Cru looks for all the world like an IPA rather than a BSDA. The cap is orangish ecru in color and is lightly creamy rather than rocky and sticky as the best of this style tend to be. Most U.S. versions have a hard time recreating the look of the Belgian masters though. The head hasn't fallen far enough to know for certain, but it appears as though the glass will be on the lace-deficient side.

After a few deep inhales, I'm guessing that the style changes from year to year and that this 2006 iteration is really a BSPA. The nose is sweet and fruity as well as being a trifle spicy. It's a good one, but lacks the depth and power that I'd expect from a true Cru. Having said that, I'll be happy if the flavor is a reflection of the aroma.

It is, more or less. As hoped for, the beer comes alive on the palate and is easily the equal of all but the best BSPAs and tripels. There's a considerable pale malt structure that provides both sweetness and body. While it may not be as fruity or as spicy as some, those portions of the flavor profile are loud enough to be easily heard above the malty din.

I don't know if a true Belgian yeast strain was used or not (I'm guessing yes), but Grand Cru tastes authentic to me. It's hard to believe that a beer that lives in the shadow of 10% is so non-boozy. The alcohol is beginning to sneak up on me, but there's no way that I'd have guessed the true ABV on flavor alone. Great job guys.

As it warms (and I started it out at barely cool), the flavor becomes a bit more forcefull and defined. Sticky golden delicious apples and buttery pears lead the way, along with a dash of white spices. More white pepper and clove would be welcome since they would provide a little more zing to a flavor profile that is a wee bit shy in that department.

Despite the relative lack of bubbles (compared to bottled Belgians), the body's fullness is never ponderous. Yeah, it's sticky and slick, but this is still a tremendously gulpable beer that is ready to go whenever you are. I like beer that gives me choices.

Grand Cru is a fine achievement for a brewpub that seems to specialize in 'hoppy as hell' styles. It doesn't rock my world like I expected it to, but I'm glad that I have an entire growler to sip and savor over the course of what I'm sure will turn out to be an incredibly mellow evening. Town Hall has done it again.

 2,436 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Don't know if this is still "retired" as I just had this at the brewpub. Poured into a 10 oz. goblet glass.

Appearance: Deep brown with some amber and a tint of ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles and a decent two fingers of off white head that slowly fades into a thin layer. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: A bright and fruity aroma. Belgian yeast and clove with some big hints of grapes, plums and other dark fruits. Hints of citrus orange and apple. Sweet bready caramel malts. Light hints of brown sugar and honey. Light presence of earthy hops in the background.

Taste: A sweet and fruity taste. Moderately spicy Belgian yeast and cloves up front. Big dark fruits that have a jam like taste. Notes of grape juice, plums, raisins, and figs. Also some orange and apple. Decent backing of caramel malts and toffee. Some hints of sugar and a little honey. Subtle earthy hops towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a light to medium level of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and chewy. Very smooth for the ABV. Alcohol heat is hidden well.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a Belgian dark ale. Good fruit presence and sweetness is kept in check.

 1,162 characters

Photo of jessiejean
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer provides rich malt, malt sugar, caramel and a variety of fruit flavors and aromas. It is a very good beer but the body is a little full and the fruity esters and carbonation a little low. Some candi sugar to reduce the body and rise the carbonation along with higher fermentation temperatures would help.

 314 characters

Photo of richj1970
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another growler courtesy of feloniousmonk.
Pours a hazy deep copper color with no head to speak of and just a whisp of lacing around the edges of the liquid. Carbonation is definitely present though as you can see little bubbles stream up the sides of the glass.
Smell is intriguing. Loads of bready yeasty notes, acompanied by big fruit scents (apple, pear, plum, etc), and just a hint of alcohol.
Taste is equally intriguing. Sweet and bready malts start the flavor, followed by huge green apple and grape. All seems to be balanced nicely out by a fair amount of bitter and spicy hops and just a bit of yeastiness and alcohol in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is much better than I thought it would be with the lack of carbonation, but it seems that my eyes are just playing tricks on me as this one seems to be just right for what it's trying to do.
Overall, a very very very enjoyable beer. Rarely have I experianced these flavors in a beer, and rarely has such a great brewery been able to consistantly top each beer I've tried from them.

 1,045 characters

Photo of warmbier804
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Hopsiam14
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev +0.3%

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Grand Cru from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 54 ratings
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